A new initiative is aiming to provide needed care for young children dealing with mental health issues.
Nearly 35,000 Mississippi children have severe and persistent mental health needs. That’s according to the Mississippi Department of Mental Health.
Joy Hogge is with Families as Allies, a group providing support for families with children who have mental health challenges. She says it’s difficult for many families to get their young children the care they need.
“We did focus groups and they were saying my child has these problems and I cannot get help anywhere,” says Hogge. “When we talked with providers they were saying I don’t know what to do with a child younger than five.”
That’s why Hogge’s organization, along with the city of Jackson and others, are joining forces to create the Beginnings Determine Success – or BuDS -- Initiative. By collaborating, they aim to train mental health providers on evidenced-based treatment for children; as well as screening children for possible mental health challenges.
Karen Frankel is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Colorado and has helped train some providers. She says catching mental health issues early can be really beneficial down the road.
“If you can help that child get back on track right at the beginning, you only have to move them a little bit,” says Frankel. “If you wait to their 15, you have a long way to go and it’s a much harder job.”
A 2005 study by the University of California Los Angeles’ Center for Mental Health in Schools found between four and 10 percent of all young children have clinically significant emotional and behavioral challenges.